Alan Jen Sondheim on Mon, 18 Aug 1997 03:29:19 +0200 (MET DST)

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Re: <nettime> Digital Tools 3/3

I agree with part of your article, expecially in view, say, of Polyani's
constructs of tacit knowledge, etc. But it lacks a reception-theory, and
overlooks the fact that Warhol or any video/filmmaker of the past twenty
years has worked with abstracted/reproductive processes - the same is true
of photography of course. 

By reception-theory, I mean exactly what sorts of embodiment are projected
or introjected, within or without the imaginary, in relation to the reader
or spectator on-line. And as Net communities, or cyber-relationships, or
Net sex show, embodiment is hardly dismissed; in fact, it is a core or
node of a number of psychoanalytical operations, for example what I call
"hysteric embodiment," referring to a textual symptom that then becomes a
source for a projective reconstruction.

You might dismiss all of this has fantasy, and so forth, but among par-
ticipants in on-line communities, these operations are very real, and tend
towards an opening in the real - telephone calls, exchange of items
through the mail, real-life meetings, etc. In fact, rather than seeing
cyberspace as machinic and foreclosed, one could consider it a relative
porous domain.

Finally, I haven't heard an argument that the brain works like a computer,
for years; I think this has been pretty well dismissed in the literature.
Look at Winograd's development over the past 25 years, for example. And
I'm not sure how the engineering paradigm, such as it is (and Nancy Cart-
right among others might argue with you here), is necessarily applicable
at all, given, say, that reproductive processes have been heavily used in
and as art for a century or so. Photography isn't necessarily tied into
motor skills, there are effects that can be produced by the automated mix-
ture of chemicals, and so forth.

I wonder if you're not harking back, in fact, to an imaginary past of a
purified artisanship...


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